‘Taken too soon’ - hundreds line the streets to pay respect to teenager Kyle Warren, who died in Pulham tragedy
- Credit: Nick Butcher
They lined the streets of a small market town in their hundreds to pay their final, tearful respects to a happy teenager taken too soon, who had touched so many hearts.
Friends and family of Kyle Warren wept and held each other as his coffin poignantly arrived on his father's lorry ahead of an emotional funeral service for the 17-year-old, who died in a tragic car crash with his two friends Billy Hines and Dominic O'Neill.
His family then helped to lift the coffin, with 'Kyle' carved on the side, off the heavy goods vehicle before the service in which relatives paid tribute to the teenager as a 'generous, caring and loving young man'.
In their heartfelt eulogy, the family added: 'Kyle was taken far too soon, but he lived his life to the full. He touched so many hearts, in so many ways.'
There had already been an outpouring of tributes to the popular teenager in the days before the event, including a car run, balloon release and hundreds of social media messages.
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But nothing could quite prepare the small Norfolk market town of Harleston - where he lived, grew up and went to school - for the scene of hundreds of his friends gathering to express their sadness and grief.
So many attended that they could not all fit into St John the Baptist Church, where the service was held, with a sound system broadcasting the service for those outside.
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Conducting the service, the Rev Nigel Tuffnell perhaps summed it up best when he said: 'You've all come together so well. Kyle has clearly touched many hearts and minds.
'So many people feel the loss of his passing.
'It always feels so wrong when someone so young is taken from us. That only adds to the pain.'
People started gathering outside the church in Station Road, Harleston about 45mins before the service, with many writing messages of tribute on cards handed out to those attending.
Shortly before the start of the event at 11.15am, three lorries from the Warren's family haulage firm arrived - the first with Kyle's coffin strapped to the back.
The Rev Tuffnell stood outside to welcome all those present, before saying at the start of the service: 'I've already seen quite a few tears and also quite a few smiles.
'There are times when you'll find yourself laughing, crying and smiling - that's part of the tribute you're giving to Kyle.'
As none of Kyle's family or friends could ever remember him singing a hymn, there were no hymns at the service.
Instead some of the favourite music-lover's songs were played, including Ed Sheeran's Photograph and the dance track Come With Me, by Special D.
The most touching tribute came during the family's eulogy, read out by the Rev Tuffnell, which remembered him as a 'happy and content baby who loved his food - much as he did when he was 17'.
They also joked that he was 'just as hard to wake him up as a baby as it was in his teenage years', before describing his passion for cars and music - and how he achieved his ambition of winning a banger race.
Richard Cranmer - headteacher at Harleston's Archbishop Sancroft High School (ASHS), which Kyle attended as a teenager - was present at the event.
He said he was struck by the range of music played at the funeral and said he could 'imagine Kyle dancing to them and having a good time with his friends'.
Mr Cranmer added: 'I'm staggered by the strength of community spirit that is in this town. Looking around it is clear there are so many groups of friends, representing different elements of Kyle's life.'
After the service the coffin was then strapped back on the lorry and drove off to a private cremation, with horns blowing loudly in tribute.
A wake was held at the Red Lion in Needham during the afternoon.